Opinion: Explainer – why some churches teach that women are ‘separate but equal’

December 23, 2016

Complementarianism is the idea held in some faiths that men and women are equal but play different complementary Dr Mark Jenningsroles in life, society and religious practice.

In an article for The Conversation, Dr Mark Jennings, a Lecturer in Religious Studies at Murdoch University's School of Arts, says complementarian approaches are highly controversial within global Christianity.

Some texts state quite clearly that women should not hold leadership roles in churches and must not preach.

Traditionally, many faiths have expected females in the congregation to dress conservatively when attending services.

Yet senior figures in the bible, including St Paul, name women as deacons of the church. The New Testament names several women leaders from the birth of Christianity.

Today, some faiths have challenged the complementarian approach and called on more women to be involved in pulpit ministries.

Dr Jennings co-authored the article with Tanya Riches, Research, Training and Development Officer at the University of Sydney.

You can read the full article here.


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